It's official: the trenchcoat-ed Knightmare Batsuit from Batman v Superman has joined the DC Comics canon. It's a historic day for fans of the DC Films universe as re-imagined by director Zack Snyder, or those who simply enjoy seeing new versions of the Batsuit added to Bruce Wayne's aresenal. The apocalyptic, sand-beaten costume worn by Ben Affleck in BvS was one movie adaptation that truly stood apart, and regardless of how the overall film was received, DC has given its stamp of approval to a truly stunning costume. As of the current Batman comic run, the Knightmare Batsuit exists in DC's comic book continuity.
For those who may have slept on the current Batman series, the Knightmare costume conveys more than just a desert setting. With Bruce Wayne having proposed to Catwoman, and Selina Kyle agreeing to take Bruce Wayne as her husband, the pair must face certain death... not happily ever after. The circumstances may be different from the movie, but writer Tom King and artist Joelle Jones have clearly decided that the term 'Knightmare' applies just as much.
The reason the pair must go through Hell to get their Heaven is that Bruce Wayne has already been married, though it wasn't entirely by choice. Unfortunately, no man - not even a Batman - gets divorced from Talia al Ghul, daughter of The Demon.
Yet Bruce Wayne sets out for her isolated, desert home of Khadym with Catwoman at his side. And, as promised, dressed for a Knightmare:
Artist Joelle Jones and colorist Jordie Bellaire do an impeccable job of not just drawing from, but directly adapting the Knightmare Batsuit created by Zack Snyder and costume designer Michael Wilkinson. The cowl, goggles, scarf, coat, down to the pants and kneepads (minus the guns, of course) are all painstakingly rendered. And to emphasize the spirit in which this version of Bruce Wayne is illustrated, it's clear in several panels of Batman #34 that Ben Affleck's build (and cleft chin) may have informed Jones's own designs. One could argue that's more to do with Affleck's own similarity to traditional depictions of Bruce Wayne, but either way the trio of King, Jones and Bellaire have created something to delight fans of Batman v Superman for years to come. Its post-apocalyptic 'Knightmare,' at the very least.
There's never been a better time for writers and artists looking to pay homage or tribute to the greatest versions of DC characters, since that's the philosophy upon which the company's Rebirth relaunch was founded. Not just to include throwback allusions to writers and artists of yesterday, but to embrace that legacy while creating something new. In the case of this Batman: Rebirth arc, it's an idea summed up in Jones and Bellaire's cover to Batman #33, which began their run on the book. In it, Batman is shown in his Knightmare threads astride a rearing black horse - a nod to the old of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns AND the new of Snyder's Dawn of Justice.
As most comic book fans will already know, this is likely just the first explicit nod to the artistry and creativity of DC's movie universe. One creative spark usually causes another, also visible in the fact that DC's Aquaman looks more like Jason Momoa than he has in years. Not an overt nod (Arthur Curry has sported long hair and a beard in his own past), but a reminder that general audiences and artists can take completely different things away from the same movie.
No matter how successful or flawed Snyder's DC vision may be to individual moviegoers, the ripples are being felt, and may continue to do so for... well, who knows how long?
Batman #35 is available now.